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Enhancing  Traditional  Pedagogy

 

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Community-Based Research

Initiated & Spearheaded the CBR pedagogy for the 4th year undergraduate research course. Students from the Econ490 course were partnered with NICCSS, Vancouver Rent Bank. 2011

As part of UBC’s initiative to facilitate community-based research (UBC-CBR/CLI), this course offered research projects in participation with Community organizations. Whereas most undergraduate 4th year economic curricula focus on theory or data analysis, Community-Based Research (CBR) lets students use their theoretical knowledge and analytical skills to help people in their own community. I was recognized for adopting a “pedagogical approach in partnering with diverse community organizations and enabling students to engage in community-based projects”

Crunching the Numbers on Vancouver’s Affordable Housing Crisis

Econ Students Team Up with Vancouver Rent Bank, NICCSS for Community-Based Research (2012-2014), Annual Alumni Newsletter, Vancouver School of Economics, UBC

Last year’s Occupy movement prompted many of us to re-evaluate our assumptions about poverty. At UBC, four students in Dr. Nisha Malhotra’s Economics 490 class—Gender, Population and Health—took that evaluation one step further. As part of UBC’s initiative to facilitate community-based learning, this course gave students the option of participating in a research project that helps a non-profit organization better understand a specific issue. Whereas most undergraduate economic curricula focus on theory or data analysis, Community-Based Research (CBR) lets students use their theoretical knowledge and analytical skills to help people in their own community.

You get a degree in econ, but when you go out into the real world you’ll be interacting with real people and using layman’s terms. Research should be based on collaboration, and CBR really offers that experience.” Tommy Chan.

[Read Full Article]

 

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 A Blended  Approach to Learning

 

A Blended Learning Course: Introduction to Microeconomics

Using adapting Blended Learning aimed to enhance students’ educational experience by incorporating more active learning in the classroom. A percentage (roughly 15%) of traditional lecture-style classes were substituted with asynchronous video tutorials. This increases class time for problem-solving and student discussions.

The video was prepared by UBC leap, Chapman learning commons, and addresses concerns about taking a blended course.

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Designed and Taught VSE’s first flexible learning course

 Introduction to Microeconomics, which incorporates active learning to replace 15% of traditional lectures with digital content. 2013. Using adapting Blended Learning aimed to enhance students’ educational experience by incorporating more active learning in the classroom. A percentage (roughly 15%) of traditional lecture-style classes were substituted with asynchronous video tutorials. This increases class time for problem-solving and student discussions.

 

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Open Education Resources  (OER)



 

–Optimal, Integral, Likely: Optimization, Integral Calculus, And Probability For Students Of Commerce And The Social Sciences, By B. Belevan, P. Hamidi, N. Malhotra, And E. Yeager, Open-Source Textbook, Cc By-Nc-Sa 4.0), 2021. [Link]

–Study Practice Guide: Optimal, Integral, Likely: Optimization, Integral Calculus, And Probability For Students Of Commerce And The Social Sciences, By B. Belevan, P. Hamidi, N. Malhotra, And E. Yeager, Open-Source Textbook, Cc By-Nc-Sa 4.0), 2021. [Link]

–Developed and maintain online resources Statistics, Econometrics and Research Methodology for students and faculty in economics, political science, and related fields. Data with STATA  [Link to the website]

–An online resource repository for Microeconomics: lectures, pre-lecture quizzes, peer assessments, etc. for ECON 101  [Link to the Website]


Introduced and Piloted the Peer Assisted Learning (PASS) at the economics department to engender collaborative research skills at VSE

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          Published  Articles

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Asynchronous Video: A Powerful Way to Teach, Present, and Communicate with Students, Online Course Delivery and Instructions, 14th June 2021.

Laptop, Mac, Computer, Browser, Research, Study

A screencast generally consists of a recording of the computer screen, along with the instructor’s commentary. Although easy to produce, this visual and auditory format is an excellent way to narrate presentations, explain concepts, answer students’ questions, and demonstrate how to use software and navigate websites. In addition, screencast videos have been shown to help students gain a deeper understanding of the material and also to enhance their engagement with the course content.

Many theories provide the basis for developing and using screencast tutorial videos as a pedagogical tool in online courses. One such theory is the cognitive theory of multimedia, which explains the benefits of integrating education with multimedia for online learners, especially through screencasting’s audio-video format. An empirical study by Lloyd and Robinson (2012) compared the effectiveness of text tutorials and screencasts. It showed that screencasts were a more effective learning tool for imparting higher-order, conceptual knowledge. The authors attributed their success to the dual learning channels (i.e., visual and verbal processing) that screencasts provide. (Link to the Article)


Implementing Active Learning and Student-Centered Pedagogy in Large Classes, Blended and Flipped Learning, Faculty Focus, Nov 27th, 2019.

Reducing the vast number of theories down to adaptable elements for my economics courses was honestly a process of trial and error. I struggled with time and questions such as: How much class time should be devoted to active learning and participation? Should this be at the expense of course content? Given that first-year undergraduate economics courses are mostly preparatory for advanced economics classes, the content of these courses is not up for debate, and none can be sacrificed. The solution was to use a blended learning approach: modifying the course structure, introducing online videos for review, and changing how the content was delivered in class.

The action plan for student engagement varies by class size. In smaller, fourth-year undergraduate classes with an average class size of 12-18 students, it is easy to interact with students while analyzing or discussing real-world issues.  Of course, a smaller class size is inherently more conducive to active learning. Furthermore, it helps to have suitable physical space and flexible seating to allow students to form groups and have discussions within and between groups.  While students solve problems or apply concepts, I transition between groups to try and help them assimilate new information while making the right connections with what they already know.

Larger classes are, however, a big challenge. An average class size of a first-year economics course can consist of 80 to 150 students. It is, thus, not feasible to interact with every group.  After much thought, I decided to rely on peer interaction and trust that students, if asked, might engage in solving posed problems. The aim was to only ‘spark’ a discussion, not a debate. I wanted students to at least question their knowledge.

(Link to the Article)


Experimenting with Facebook in the College Classroom, Teaching with Technology, Faculty Focus, June 10th, 2013

The participation and discussion rates were higher than ever and more problem-solving, and other requests were made for help with the course. This module helped achieve what face-to-face, three-hours a week interaction could not. Therefore, I have decided to make this technology a permanent feature in my course. However, next semester, we will have a closed Facebook group. This is what I have learned:

  • A Facebook page creates a public presence online. Anyone on the Internet, even those that don’t have a Facebook account, can view this page. By default, comments can be viewed by anyone on the Internet. (Pineda)
  • Students tend to be concerned about their online persona – saying something unintelligent is a big concern. (Selwyn) As a result, they are less likely to participate on a Facebook page than a closed group.
  • Facebook groups resemble an online café with walls to the rest of the online community, allowing students to (a) chat in real-time, (b) discuss in virtual-time, and (c) share materials through straightforward file upload.
  • Facebook groups can be open (public), closed (require administrator approval for joining and only members can read the posts), or secret (only members can see the group, who’s in it, and what’s being posted).
  • Students prefer a closed group. They are apprehensive about asking questions in open groups where their Facebook friends can judge them as scholastically inept. (Selwyn)

As for the benefits of creating a Facebook group for your course, not only am I seeing better online interactions and face-to-face discussions, but it’s a fantastic way to get mid-semester feedback from the students.

(Link to the Article)


Seminars in Applied Research Methods: Designing Instructional Strategies for a Seminar Course, Syllabus Journal (2013)

To research social issues, students must have an understanding of human behaviour, culture, and socioeconomic foundations. Peer discussions, which often generate positive externalities, can lead to a greater understanding of the costs and benefits of various policies and behaviours (Van Den Berg, Admiraal, & Pilot, 2006). While the interaction between the professor and students is mostly at the individual level, peer discussions are at the individual level, in small group settings, or large groups.

The use of social media that students have previously been using and accustomed to provides a cost and free effective medium for discussion and interaction (Lockyer, Dawson, & Heathcote, 2010). The class also has a Facebook page for students from previous semesters and the current sessions for further interactions. Given a constraint on time, a choice had to be made between allocating time to in-class lectures or having individual meetings with the students. My past experience reveals that unless students are required to use the learned material within a short span of time – lectures are quickly forgotten or at times ignored. Therefore, videos of required material were posted (STATA and Econometrics), which allowed students to view the lectures whenever they needed the material. This allowed me to allocate a greater number of office hours dealing with individual questions.

Another decision I struggled with was the assessment of class participation/discussion: how to grade students anxious about public speaking or who are shy. Having a place to post comments and participate without the public eye – should be helpful and encourage involvement (Larson, B.E. & Keiper, T.A., 2002). Thus, student-led interaction on the class Facebook page has been assigned a grade, resolving to some extent my concern with assessing participation.

( Link to the Article)